Friday, January 7, 2011

Omgili and Blekko, two new search engines

By Vasudev Ram

Omgili and Blekko are two new search engines I got to know about recently.

I read about Blekko via a recent post by Vivek Wadhwa on TechCrunch, entitled

Why We Desperately Need a New (and Better) Google. I have to say that I tend to agree at least a bit with the general thrust of Vivek's post, the key point of which is that there is too much gaming of Google search results nowadays by spam sites, which makes the results less useful. For example, many recent searches that I did for reviews of a few mobile phone models I'm considering buying, seem to bear out his point - I got very few good actual reviews of the phones I was checking out, and a lot of junk sites; but of course, one cannot make such a statement with any degree of confidence based on even a few dozen searches. One would need to do a thorough study involving thousands of searches (or more) and then analyze them rigorously or semi-rigorously (since the somewhat qualitative notion of search result quality is involved here), before making any conclusions. Anyway, I tried out Blekko a bit after reading the post, but not enough to draw any conclusions or opinions about it vis-a-vis Google.

I got to know about Omgili because it crawled my business web site - Dancing Bison Enterprises, as reported by Google Analytics (which I use on my site).

Check the Omgili site's front page to know what the name means :)

It's a search engine for searching forums and mailing lists.

Tried it out a little as well.

Interestingly, Omgili seems to have a RESTful or pseudo-RESTful interface to searches. I say this because, after doing a test search for my xtopdf toolkit, I got a page with this URL:

which seems to indicate that I could type that URL directly into the browser address bar the next time I want to search Omgili for xtopdf. Of course, such a technique works with Google and other search engines too, but the URLs in those cases are long and contain a lot of cruft - ok, not really cruft, but additional URL parameters like for the language used and so on, whereas Omgili's URLs look short and simple.

Omgili also has another variant which they call Google@Omgili :) which they claim combines the best of both worlds - "objective search" via Google and "subjective search" via Omgili:


- Vasudev Ram - Dancing Bison Enterprises

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